GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Police in Gainesville said they have investigated over 450 reports of car burglaries in 2016, almost a 50 percent increase in cases this same time last year. During a news conference on Wednesday, the agency said a majority of these cases involve vehicles that were left unlocked by their owners.
"Gainesville police officers frequently patrol parking lots of apartment complexes and examine vehicles that are parked. On average, officers find that at least 60 percent of the vehicles are left unlocked," said Ben Tobias, spokesman with the GPD. "Thieves look for the path of least resistance, and by leaving valuables in an unlocked car; it almost invites these criminals to commit such an easy crime.
During a three-month period, 19 firearms were reported stolen from vehicles. Some of these firearms have been recovered. Tobias said some of the stolen firearms are likely used in armed robberies and other gun-related crimes.
Investigators continue to investigate the instances where guns have not yet been recovered.